Advanced Water Purification

Padre Dam Municipal Water District celebrated the grand opening of its Advanced Water Purification Demonstration Facility and tour program on Friday, April 10, 2015. The demonstration facility will use advanced water purification technologies to purify and test approximately 100,000 gallons of recycled water each day. Residents who would like to view the advanced water purification process first-hand can schedule a tour by clicking on the 'Take a Tour' button below.

The project, funded through a three million dollar Proposition 50 grant from the Department of Water Resources, will use advanced water purification technologies to potentially diversify East County’s water supply by providing a new source of water that is safe, reliable, locally controlled and drought-proof.
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AWP Demo Facility
Water: Too Valuable to Use Once
Padre Dam imports 100 percent of its drinking water supply from hundreds of miles away, from the Sacramento Bay Delta and the Colorado River. Our economy, livelihood and well-being depend on having a reliable source of water. Recent drought and imported water supply challenges have highlighted the need for Padre Dam to explore new possible water sources to ensure a safe, reliable water supply and to safeguard the vitality of East County’s economy and quality of life.
A New Source of Water

The Advanced Water Purification Demonstration Project, will include the planning, design, installation and operation of a demonstration plant using Advanced Water Treatment technologies that meet or exceed the California Division of Drinking Water's draft regulations. The water produced during this phase is for testing purposes only and will not be utilized in the drinking water system.

f the demonstration project is a success and the project moves forward, it would provide up to 2,000 to 3,000 acre feet per year of drinking water to Padre Dam customers. This is approximately 15 percent of Padre Dam’s current drinking water demands. 
In addition to the Demonstration Project, Padre Dam continues to study the Santee Basin Aquifer to determine its feasibility and capacity for the Advanced Water Purification Project. Electrical Resistivity field testing was completed in March 2013 providing initial data on the depth and breadth of the aquifer. In March 2014, test wells were drilled to provide additional data on the aquifer. 

The Advanced Water Purification Demonstration Project is funded by a state grant and will not impact water rates.

Rigorous Purification Process

The purification process begins with treating recycled water using state-of-the-art technologies. This treatment process includes four advanced water treatment steps - free chlorine disinfection, membrane filtration, reverse osmosis and ultra violet/advanced oxidation. After treatment, it would be injected into the groundwater basin where it is naturally filtered and would then be withdrawn and treated again prior to distribution as drinking water. 

During the Demonstration Project, the purified water will be tested daily to ensure it meets the public health objectives for California Public Health Department approval. The ultimate goal is to develop a proven full-scale project that utilizes water produced within the District to serve Padre Dam Municipal Water District’s customers. 



4 step AWT process




Project Schedule

The Demonstration Project is now open to the public and will be operating for demonstration and testing purposed until summer of 2016. At that time, the Demonstration Project is producing approximately 100,000 gallons of water per day for demonstration and testing purposes.

A Regional Water Solution

An additional study is being conducted to consider the potential for expanding the Santee Advanced Water Purification Program to include more East County communities. This proposed expanded project would include the service areas of Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Helix Water District, a portion of the County of San Diego, and the City of El Cajon. This study will evaluate expanding Padre Dam’s Advanced Water Treatment facility, and advanced treatment systems, in order to provide a new water supply for additional local users beyond Padre Dam’s water customers.